by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell Rotary Club has extended its helping hands internationally with a water-well project at the Angels Home for Orphans in Cameroon, West Africa.
Thanks to a grant from the International Rotary Foundation and other donations, the project will be the local Rotary Club’s first project beyond the many local good deeds it has done.
There is, in addition, a strong local connection to the Cameroon orphanage. It was built with funds raised by “200 Orphanages Worldwide,” whose founder and director is Sartell resident Jan Hanson. Hanson has been a member of the Sartell Rotary Club for the past three years. She and members of her organization have raised money to build many amenities at orphanages throughout the world, including security walls, dining halls and other smaller projects.
The construction of the orphanage in Cameroon is the biggest project yet undertaken by “200 Orphanages.” Their next project, of which they’ve raised enough funds to build its first floor, is “Mercy Home Project” an orphanage in Kerala in southwest India. It’s a project in conjunction with a New Jersey organization called “Voice of the Gospel,” which operates 60 orphanages worldwide, each with 10 children nurtured by two trained “parents.”
Hanson said she was thrilled when the Sartell Rotary Club and the Rotary Foundation took an interest in the needs of international orphanages.
“It’s great a small club like Sartell Rotary can have an impact in the life of HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa,” Hanson said. “The project shows what can happen when a group of dedicated people work on something together.”
The orphanage in Cameroon, which was chosen by the Sartell Rotary Club for a clean-water well, is a facility for children who are suffering because of HIV/AIDS infections. The orphanage and its well will be completed within the next month. It will accommodate from 10-12 orphans. Those orphans are under the ongoing guidance of “Angel of Mercy USA,” which is based in Oakdale, which has operations in Cameroon.
“The well was a community effort,” said Sartell Rotary President Anita Smoley. “We are very excited about being involved in our first international project and expect to do more.”
Funds for the well project came from matching money from the Rotary Foundation and from the annual “Sartell Rotary Golf 4 Orphans.” Some funds were also donated by the Pinnacle Peak Rotary Club and its district in Scottsdale, Ariz. That is a club Hanson attends when she winters in Arizona.
The Rotary Foundation makes grants for projects in underdeveloped nations for such needs as medical care, education and vital clean-water wells. Hanson said the Rotary Foundation and the Sartell Rotary Club have expressed interest in doing more orphanage projects worldwide.
In her quest to help children in the world, Hanson often quotes one of her favorite sayings: “We can’t do it all, but we can all do something.”
For more information about the Sartell Rotary and its projects or how to join, call Anita Smoley at 320-252-9380 or visit its Facebook at www.Twitter.com/SartellRotary.
For more information about 200 Orphanages Worldwide, visit its website at: www.200orphanagesworldwide.org.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.